Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Apply Soft Skill Training to the Management Employees

The spirit of the organization comes from the top.

Management plays a significant role in shaping high-performing business culture. In order to improve management quality, how to apply soft skill training to the management employees. Your
development interventions may be individual or group training based on the outcomes of the assessments. What soft skills should be taught to the management employees in a short time to help them achieve goals better?

The first step is to assess their competencies and use the profiles to identify where the gaps in performance lie. Before deciding on what to train management-level employees on, you need to determine where they are now, in terms of corporate core competencies. Not every manager is short of the same competencies as another manager. Managers have different experiences, sets of knowledge and personal traits. First, identify the skills and knowledge need to be able to perform to be successful. Next determine where they are. Then develop the training to get them from where they are to where they need to be.

What is the purpose of the training. Is it to drive bottom line results or to catalyze long term development through collaboration and effective communication? Same outcome, two different approaches and impacts. Before deciding on the training intervention for soft skills managerial training, there is a need to determine the current state of company culture. What one organization sees as a priority may not be the same in another. Are managerial training end-result goals focused upon the bottom line and profitability, or is there a perceived need for soft skills training to develop more interaction, collaboration and effective communication within internal groups? In order to determine the correct training intervention, one needs to have a good grasp of the need for the soft skills training prior to any course determination and development.

There are a quite long list of soft skills ranked in "what is your top three most taught soft skills?"leadership survey:
1). Communication
2). Team-work / Participation
3). Leadership
4). Listening
5)  Self-awareness
6) Inter-personal
7) Time management
8) Conflict management
9) Emotional intelligence
10) Confidence
11).Coaching (Mentoring)
12). Positive mindset (thinking / attitude)
13) Confidence
14) Influencing
15) Cross-cultural sensitivity
16) Problem solving (creative thinking)
17) Coping with / Managing change
18) Presentation skills
19) Team building
20) Customer (service / mindset)
21) Negotiation
22) Assertiveness
23) Responsibility / Accountability
24) Dealing with difficult situation
25) Collaboration
26) Giving & receiving feedback
27) Motivation
28) Decision making
29) Humility
30) Working communicating remotely / virtually
31) Learning attitude
32)  Diversity (handling)
33) Observation
34) Courage
35) Initiative

Effectively giving and receiving feedback. Often times, new managers understand they must provide feedback to their team members but don't have the proper methods for delivery. And, they have a difficult time receiving feedback from colleagues, their own supervisors, and their subordinates...all of which are important for the new manager to succeed in his/her position. It's all about communication - influencing, listening, understanding your audience, knowing the purpose of your communication efforts, choosing the right morality, giving and receiving feedback, negotiation..You should ask them of a leader they felt was highly effective and why they were effective. Once they can identify those effective leadership characteristics, the next step is to determine the behaviors they need to embody those same characteristics. Sometimes it is the experiences you go through that determine who and what you want to be from any perspective - leader, team member, etc.

The results of 360-degree assessments and Performance Management would also highlight potential developmental areas on an individual basis. What leads you to the conclusion that your managers need help to achieve goals better? Which goals - Operational? Organizational? Human Resource? Other? Each requires a different skill-set and not necessarily a one-size-fits-all generic quick-fix solution. Their perceived lack of skills may be more fundamental - possibly the lack of agreement and buy-into an organizational goal or shared management vision. Then market your values surrounding these attitudes and skills internally. It is not their current soft skill ability that will determine if they are successful. It is their attitude about how important these skills are (or aren't) and whether or not they will do the work to get there.

Statistically, more than two thirds of leadership development training fail to achieve the expectation, leadership and management are both the art and science, some leadership characteristics can be trained, some cannot, organizations need to well-tailor their training programs to better assess and improve their overall management capability.  


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